Greenwich and Blackheath, contrasting space #walking #london

 

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Dog and me on the edge of Blackheath

The last time I wrote about Greenwich it was for the A to Z challenge here. My focus then was on the town and its history with only a few glimpses of Greenwich Park through the fences that surround the National Maritime museum. I told myself then to return, Dog by my side and have a good nose around.

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our companion and the shaggy heath

In fact it needed a nudge from a friend with her Labrador to get me going but once underway I’m glad we decided on here for our walk.

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We parked in Greenwich Park, not far from the Royal Observatory building – £4 for 4 hours, which is a bit steep, frankly. It is a function of the popularity and affluence of the area and a lack of on and off street parking. However we were there on a damp Tuesday in June; it was pretty nearly empty so ‘rip off’ did come to mind.

Hey ho, if I want to live in a gloriously varied city I have to tolerate some downsides I suppose.

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the wide acres of Blackheath

We headed out of the park, due south, to circumnavigate Blackheath. That is the heath itself and not the village of the same name.

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a smudge of a pond – there wasn’t a lot of variety to the Heath

Quite honestly Blackheath is pretty plain to look at, just a gently arched area of open grassland surrounded by a variety of expensive houses and the eponymous village.

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The wild flower borders though were great

It has an interesting history, being reputed to be named after the vast number of plague victims buried there – a myth apparently. Wat Tyler tried a peasants’ revolt in the 14th century and said peasants mustered here before losing on away goals or penalties or something. Ditto the Kentish revolt of 1450 under John Cade. Neither worked as intended though these heroes of folk law are memorialised in some road names hereabouts. I’m sure they are really grateful.

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All Saints church and one of the many roads

The heath is criss-crossed with roads, which makes it a faff with a dog that has a tendency to wander ahead and has the road sense of an astigmatic hedgehog. One such road is the main A2 heading into London, a veritable strip of gas-guzzling thunder. This has always been an important artery for London, originally Watling Street a Roman road. Back in the 17th and 18th centuries, this road proved to be a popular testing ground for prospective highway persons, auditing purses and other gold and silver holding bags. Today the rattle of constant traffic makes you long for someone to stop the flow, even if they require some form of gratuity.

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the towers of Canary Wharf loom as you approach Greenwich Park

We stopped for coffee, as you do, at a rather nice Buenos Aires cafe and enjoyed a pretty decent brew. The woman at the next table appeared to be on fire – it was a vapping thingy that she worked as hard as any coal fired power station works in the half time interval during a world cup. Horrid thing. I growled and glared but I was ineffective in persuading her of the error of her pollutive ways.

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The rose garden inside Greenwich Park

Incentivised to get going, we passed a rather fine church – All Saints – and headed for Greenwich Park. This is a complete contrast to the heath. Walled at its southern end it slopes dramatically down to the river and overlooks the bowl of London in the distance and the Royal Naval college and the Maritime museum in the foreground.

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seriously, if this is the state of its skin, it needs a serious tub of tree cream…

There are trees, the meridian line, a ship in a bottle

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different…

and a rather sour faced statue of General Wolfe who arm-wrestled the French for the right to run Canada.

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Not happy. Not happy at all…

But the gorgeous views are what draw you back

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Canary Wharf beyond the power station across the river

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The National Maritime Museum and the Royal Naval College and a peep of river before Canary Wharf looms large

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The Thames meanders as it heads towards the city and the towers there

that and the splendid buildings on its northern fringe.

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Blue Plaque fame…

On the western edge the park overlooks a grand building once lived in by Sir John Vanbrugh, the architect responsible for the rather grand Blenheim Palace. They have installed a blue plaque too, a sure sign of the man’s importance.

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the Queen Elizabeth Oak, apparently around in Queen Liz’s time and used, or so the sign says, as a jail!

We wandered back up the slope, catching our breath as we took in more views and angled our path towards the Royal Observatory once again.

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A twenty four hour clock

Here the cafe provided me with my dying wish meal – in the same way as I have long known the music I want at my funeral, I also know the meal I’d have if I ended up a  condemned man – the main course would be a perfect jacket potato, butter and a heap of mature cheddar and baked beans with a crisp mixed salad on the side. Ah, me, like the views, something to purr over.

This walk is part of Jo’s Monday Walks: click here for more ideas and fun

About TanGental

My name is Geoff Le Pard. Once I was a lawyer; now I am a writer. I've published three books - Dead Flies and Sherry Trifle, My Father and Other Liars and Salisbury Square. In addition I published an anthology of short stories, Life, in a Grain of Sand this summer. A fourth book will be out soon. This started life as a novel in a week on this blog and will follow later this year. I blog about all sorts at geofflepard.com and welcome all comments. These are my thoughts and no one else is to blame. If you want to nab anything I post, please acknowledge where it came from.
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29 Responses to Greenwich and Blackheath, contrasting space #walking #london

  1. Jools says:

    I love your walks!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. AJ.Dixon says:

    This is a great read. Informative and interesting. A right royal ramble!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. What a lovely walk…thanks for taking us along. Your Greenwich is quite different from ours in NYC. ☺ And about that last meal…not sure ?? Something to think about.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’d love a 24-hour clock. Are the photos of Canary Wharf what influenced you for the book cover of Salisbury Square?

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Anabel Marsh says:

    Nice walk! Strangely, while looking for something else which I didn’t find, a few hours ago I was looking at a picture of me standing with one foot on each side of the meridian in 2008. I remember trailing across Blackheath in wedding finery about 10 years before that with my feet killing me. (My sister-in-law got married for the 3rd, and so far final, time somewhere round there.) Neither event seems all that long ago 😦 I like your meal choice, it’s a café staple for me too, but not sure I’d choose it for the very last one.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. A picturesque walk as any. Love the fresh air, wild flowers, trees and all. Lovely photos. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. jan says:

    Ah, so nice and green. Here in California the grass is brown.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. restlessjo says:

    No beans in my spud please, Geoff. 🙂 Just lots of cheese- or if you’re pushing the boat out (appropriate for Greenwich) then Coronation Chicken. Thanks for walking my way 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  9. lucciagray says:

    Fabulous as all your posts on London are. I didn’t get the post this time 😦 I’ll try again next year. In the meantime it will be short visits and your posts 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Autism Mom says:

    We loved our tour of Greenwich with you – what wonderful memories and beautiful views!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Helen Jones says:

    I do love your wonderful London walks, Geoff! This one was a beauty 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  12. willowdot21 says:

    You never cease to point out how lovely London is … I miss living there when I read your posts on the home of my youth!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Pingback: Jo’s Monday walk : Raby Castle and Deer Park | restlessjo

  14. I also love that Greenwich Park isn’t actually so huge.. but it was so cleverly designed, (how many centuries ago…) that you can spend ages in it thinking you are miles from the city

    Liked by 1 person

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